Mount honors Michael TJ McCormack, Rick Brownell, and Nancy Rossi Brownell at eighth annual Gala

December 04, 2017

8th Annual Gala Reception

Mount Saint Mary College was proud to celebrate three outstanding pillars of the local community at the Eighth Annual Gala Reception on Friday, December 1.

Michael TJ McCormack, principal architect and founding partner of Liscum McCormack VanVoorhis LLP; Rick Brownell, owner and president of Freedom Ford Inc.; and Nancy Rossi Brownell, vice president of Putnam for Community Foundations of the Hudson Valley; were honored with the Joseph A. Bonura Award for Leadership Excellence. 

This award recognizes individuals whose professional accomplishments and approach to management reflect the same commitment to quality, concern for neighbors, and shared prosperity that have exemplified the career and character of restaurateur Joseph A. Bonura. The local businessman owns Anthony’s Pier 9 in New Windsor and the Poughkeepsie Grand Hotel, among other businesses. 

Nearly 250 guests attended the event, held at the Kaplan Family Mathematics, Science and Technology Center. The Gala raised more than $100,000 in gifts, sponsorships, and ticket sales.

According to Mount Saint Mary College President Dr. David Kennett, the funds enable the college to provide an affordable, values-based education to thousands of deserving students, many of whom are among the first in their families to attend college.

It’s a noble pursuit, said honoree Nancy Rossi Brownell. 

“I’m proud to know that our support and your support make it possible for students of all economic levels to fulfil their dreams of a four-year, faith-based, private college education,” she explained, adding that about one third of Mount scholars are first-generation college students. “Events like this make dreams like that come true.”

In addition to her support of the Mount, Nancy serves on the boards of the Foundation for Vassar Brothers Medical Center, Hudson Valley Hospice Foundation, the Estate Planning Council of Putnam County, and as vice president for the Garden Club of Orange and Dutchess. She is a member of the Cold Spring Chamber of Commerce, Greater Mahopac-Carmel Chamber of Commerce, and the Professional Women of Putnam. 

Service is one of the Brownell family’s greatest joys, noted honoree Rick Brownell. The Hudson Valley “has given us the opportunity for much success, a great life, and a wonderful place to raise our two boys,” he explained, “so it’s natural for Nancy and me to give back to the community that has given so much to us.”

Rick currently serves as president of the Beacon Chamber of Commerce and as a member of the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce, Beacon Elks Club, Beacon Sloop Club, New Hamburg Yacht Club, and as a member of the National Auto Dealers Association. He volunteers with Topfield Equestrian Center and represented Dutchess County in the Tenth Annual Fireball Run, an Amazon Prime reality show that features Hudson Valley locations as part of a race to recover America’s missing children.

Rick previously served on Mount Saint Mary College’s Golf and Tennis Tournament Committee and the Grants Review Committee for the Community Foundations of the Hudson Valley.

Honoree Michael TJ McCormack believes that education is a vital tool that forms the foundation of success. 

“We’re here tonight to give back to the community,” said McCormack. “As an architect, that’s really part of my heart – helping something get better. Mount Saint Mary College…has had such a special place in my heart, as well as all the students.”

McCormack was instrumental in designing many local educational institutes and enhancing campus structures for students, faculty, and staff alike. Among these are residential and study facilities for the Mount as well as projects for Marist College, Vassar College, and beyond. 

Working with the Mount over the past two decades on various projects has been an incredible and gratifying experience for McCormick and his firm, he said.

In that same vein, service in an important part of McCormack’s life. He has donated his time to his town, local hospitals, county boards, colleges, and local historical sites, including the Dutchess Community College Architectural Advisory Board; the Town of Clinton Planning Board; the Mid-Hudson Regional of Westchester Medical Center Board; Bannerman’s Island Trust; the Dutchess County Economic Development Advisory Council; the Dutchess Community College Foundation Board; and the Dutchess County Planning Federation. 

McCormack, his wife Susan, and their children are from Dutchess County, which they view as a local treasure.